Myrtle berries (Hemblass)

November 17, 2015  • 


These wild bushes get loaded with berries this time of year. Their history goes back thousands of years in the area, and the berries have a reputation for lowering cholesterol and easing digestive issues (among other uses) and are used in herbal medicine in the rural areas, as well as a snack to munch on.

My farmer friend, Um Elias, had told me recently that they swell-up and taste better after a good rain, so I was eager to test this claim.
She likes to eat them raw when she is farming nearby, and she also (like another lady I know) likes to make a liqueur with the berries.

I can think of other uses, such as an accent in a salad, or dumped in a stew. Why not?

Um Elias picks myrtle

Um Elias picks myrtle

If interested in the myrtle liqueur, here is the link.


6 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Walid says:

    Dear Joumana

    This morning while I was leaving my home going to work, I stopped in my front garden and picked a handful of white myrtle berries from one of my two myrtle shrubs that I brought from Cyprus to London where I live since 26 years . I was overwhelmed with a nostalgic joyful feeling that took me back to my home in Beirut . I am a true disciple of taste of Beirut , so at lunch time when I went to the site , I was thrilled to see that myrtle berries was added, And I found myself looking for a long time at those wonderful photos …
    I do greatly enjoy seeing through your eyes and experiencing the natural world, the food recipes, the artistic photos, the comprehensive vibrant site and finally your passionate comments .

    • Joumana says:

      @Walid: Dear Walid, it is your appreciative readership that encourages me to maintain the ongoing commitment (and labor) to TasteofBeirut. Your mail brought a smile to my face, thank you so so much 🙂

  2. Elias says:

    I live in Vancouver, Canada. I have been trying for so long to find and buy a white Myrtle berry plant, with no success. I found the blue/black one and it did well but the fruits are not as sweet. do you know the scientific name or common name of the white variety?

    • Joumana says:

      @Elias: Hi Elias, I am not well versed in horticulture. I would refer you to Trees of Joy; a Lebanese man owns this business and he grows lots of Lebanese/Mediterranean plants at his farm and sells them. His name is Bass Semmaan. He has a page on Facebook.

  3. Christine says:

    Bonjour joumana, je suis une fan de taste of Beirut, pourriez vous confirmer le nom de Bass Semmaan? Je ne le trouve pas sur facebook,merci

    • Joumana says:

      @Christine: son nom Bass Semaan, je vais vĂ©rifier. Et son business s’appelle Trees of Joy (sa fille a le mĂȘme nom). Je tiens Ă  prĂ©ciser que je n’ai pas de lien contractuel avec lui, ou son business.

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